Police have launched a manhunt for a British man alleged to be the kingpin of a Pattaya-based drug-smuggling operation after arresting three Australian motorcycle gang cohorts and three others.
Tihomer Stojic, 47, was arrested at his girlfriend’s house in Buri Ram Nov. 28 while Jamie Robert Hanson, 46, and Steven Brett Hovi, 58, were captured in separate raids on their Pattaya homes a day earlier.
The Aussies’ girlfriends – Jiraporn Kiatsutthachit, 35, and Wirapha Ungsri, 34 – also were arrested along with Nigerian Chimezie Stanley Duru, 38.
All those arrested are alleged to be involved in smuggling methamphetamines and heroin from Thailand to the Hells Angels and Comanchero motorcycle gangs in Australia. The head of that smuggling ring, police told British media, is U.K. national Christopher Depp, who fled Pattaya and remains at large.
Stojic had fled his Cozy Beach View condominium for Issan after his alleged accomplices were arrested. He was brought back and police searched the Soi Kasetin residence, finding a 20 grams of crystal meth hidden in his Mercedes-Benz, along with a small amount of marijuana.
He was charged with possession with intent to sell a Class 1 narcotic and possession of a Class 5 drug.
The drug haul was much larger a day before when Region 2 police frantically scaled closed gates at the two properties and broke down doors to keep the element of surprise.
Hanson and Hovi were caught with 1.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, a handgun, drug paraphernalia, and financial records of a million baht in drug deals.
The drug raids – staged with the cooperation of the Australian Federal Police – were characterized as a major blow against violent Aussie bike gangs which increasingly have used Pattaya and Thailand as a base for international drug-smuggling.